At the start of every term, before learners come back from their holidays to begins sessions again at the College, there is a dedicated week for trainees.
These ‘trainee weeks’, made possible by the 3-week-longer trainee provision, have in the past been dedicated to vocational workshops and internal work-experience opportunities.
However, since January 2016, Coleg Elidyr have been re-imagining these trainee weeks as opportunities to undertake dedicated workshops with a focus on skills which will aid transition. This new focus differentiates the trainee weeks from term-time vocational activities and work experience – taking advantage of the unique opportunity for staff and the college to work exclusively with those in the trainee programme.
In April 2016, trainees rotated between three workshop days (with two full days of discussion, celebration and plenary where everybody gathered together, to bookend the week).
The three workshops were Travel Training (pictured above), Fitness & Leisure (pictured immediately below) and Health & Wellbeing (pictured at bottom of page)
Timekeeping is an important skill, one which is essential for those wishing to access the community with increased independence or those hoping to secure voluntary or paid work. This subject, which was a focus in January 2016 workshops, was put into practice with Travel Training.
Fitness & Leisure is an important subject for those who are hoping to transition to supported living; developing hobbies and keeping oneself fit are key skills. The fitness and leisure training adapted to the trainees in the workshop, but it involved opportunities to try out a huge amount of different activities such as sports, travel to different spaces (e.g. rambling through nature, or building on the beach) and get familiar with gym equipment such as treadmills, punching bags and yoga balls.
The Health & Wellbeing workshop was carried out in the on-site bed and breakfast, Ty Collen, and had a focus this time on healthy eating. Trainees explored recipes, meals and ideas about eating, and created plans for ‘Good Living’. Each trainee explored what they ate, and what proportions they ate different items in, to gain a better understanding of what it means to eat healthily.
The new trainee workshops are greatly successful in that they give dedicated time for staff to explore particular issues which are important to transition. While healthy living, wellbeing, travel training and hobby development are all already parts of the teaching at Coleg Elidyr, rarely do we get the opportunity to explore these issues as in-depth as we’ve had the opportunity to in the training week workshops.
This is a model we hope to continue in the future, and which we look forward to developing further with our trainee and transition team.